17 April 2019
Lorraine Estelle and Steve Sharp
Fresh from this year’s Annual Conference , and with some unseasonably wintery weather (at least here in the UK), it is very warming to take the opportunity to look back over the really fascinating and high-quality content that we have published in Insights recently. Inevitably, with Plan S very much at the forefront of everyone’s minds, there has continued to be a focus on the topic of open access (OA) in many of the articles. Rob Johnson produced an incredibly helpful overview of the current situation in his article ‘From coalition to commons: Plan S and the future of scholarly communication’, exploring how Plan S’s ten principles will impact the community. In her article published earlier this year, Ruth Mallalieu stepped back to take a good look at the Creative Commons licences that underpin so much scholarly content nowadays and presented a strong argument for why they really matter. The Swedish perspective was presented by Lisa Lovén in her article looking at monitoring OA costs and publication data at Stockholm University, and Katrine Sundsbø took a slightly unusual view of OA, giving us a really fascinating insight into the Open Access Escape Room that was designed and run at the University of Essex to increase engagement with and understanding of the true value of open scholarship.
Sharing and openness continue to be themes that we explore regularly in Insights, so we were extremely pleased when Leila Jones, Rebecca Grant and Iain Hrynaszkiewicz agreed to present case studies on how two leading academic publishers, Taylor & Francis and Springer Nature, have rolled out data-sharing policies to encourage and support their authors in sharing their research data. In the coming months, this theme will carry on being explored – Tiberius Ignat and his colleagues will be taking a look at how European libraries can embed open science, and Rosie Higman and colleagues will be looking at the intersection of data management, FAIR and open. Roy Kaufman will also be taking a look at open educational resources (OERs) and the lessons that have been learned though their development and deployment.
Alongside all these strategically themed articles, we have made sure that we do not forget the more practical aspects of the work of our community. In his case study, James Kay looked at how the University of Derby has improved the discoverability of e-resources with their Library Plus 2.0 initiative, while Alison Spence and her colleagues from the University of Glasgow took a look at their digital preservation journey. We have also brought you three fascinating articles which demonstrate just how resourceful and creative we continue to be as a community, whether that be related to improving the customer experience, wrestling with devastating budget cuts or deciding how best to tackle the evaluation of research outputs: Sabina Pagotto and Wei Zhao write for us on the Scholars Portal Journals initiative in Ontario, Canada, a library consortium-run platform that aggregates and archives licensed scholarly journal content; Tracey Totty paints a rather bleak picture of the tough data-driven decisions that had to be taken to see Middlesbrough College’s Learning Resource Centre though a period of severe austerity, and Lizzie Gadd’s article provides an overview of some of the problems inherent within the current research evaluation landscape, and some of the ways in which collaborating as part of a newly formed INORMS (International Network of Research Management Societies) working group is hoping to address them.
While keeping our ear to the ground, we also continue to keep one eye on the future, especially those key developments and issues which will affect large sectors of our community. With this in mind, we have published Key Issues recently that have explored some of the potential benefits (and pitfalls) of using Blockchain technology and implementing persistent identifiers (PIDs).
As we have highlighted in this and previous Editorials, there are often common themes that run through our articles, and we have long thought about how to better package this content along these thematic lines. It is, therefore, extremely gratifying to be able to announce (for those who missed it at point of launch) that we recently published our first ‘special collection’, From Finch to Plan S: and you may ask yourself, well how did I get here? It would be very easy to forget how ‘ahead-of-the-curve’ Insights has been over the years, but, if you were ever in any doubt, this collection of articles on the topic of OA provides a timely reminder of the wealth of high-quality articles that we have published, in many cases well ahead of other scholarly publications. For the strength and coherence of this collection, we are extremely grateful for the editorial and curatorial time and effort put into it by our Guest Editors, Frank Manista and Graham Stone. We are certainly looking forward to bringing you more thematic ‘special collections’ in the future.
As a fully OA journal, we at Insights are conscious of our global readership, so continue to reach out and welcome potential authors from all quarters of the scholarly communications community. Over the coming months we are looking forward to bringing you a global perspective in the articles we are planning to publish, alongside, of course, the more applied case studies and research articles that you have come to expect. Francisco Jesus Martinez-Galindo and his colleagues will be serving up a view of Plan S from the Spanish perspective, and we are extremely pleased to have secured an article exploring the impact of Plan S written by a group of colleagues from South Africa. But, the global perspective will not be our only driver. Look out for forthcoming articles such as Michael Upshall’s on using artificial intelligence (AI) to solve business problems in scholarly publishing, along with articles on themes as wide-ranging as institutional repositories and research data metrics, trans-national education (TNE), reading lists, metadata and the challenges presented when utilising DDA and EBA models for acquiring e-books.
We want to carry on working for and with you as our readership and our community, so if there are topics or themes that you think we should be covering in Insights, or even different aspects of topics we have previously covered, simply get in touch. If you have suggestions for potential authors, that is even better!